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$2.5 million gift will fund center at Penn State Harrisburg that will address substance abuse

Press & Journal Staff

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Posted 5/15/19

Penn State Harrisburg received a $2.5 million gift from the Douglas W. Pollock Foundation, which will go toward creating a center to address substance abuse in the central Pennsylvania region, …

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$2.5 million gift will fund center at Penn State Harrisburg that will address substance abuse

Posted

Penn State Harrisburg received a $2.5 million gift from the Douglas W. Pollock Foundation, which will go toward creating a center to address substance abuse in the central Pennsylvania region, according to the university.

The center will be called the Douglas W. Pollock Center for Addiction Outreach and Research, named after Pollock, who was a 1973 Penn State graduate and grew up in central Pennsylvania.

According to a press release, Pollock, who was a student-athlete, battled mental health issues and addiction, which led to his death in 2016 at 64.

Pollock supported the military and veterans, and the center will focus on providing assistance to military veterans and their families facing addiction-related challenges and supporting non-profit organizations’ efforts to combat substance abuse across the state and nation.

“Substance abuse is devastating lives, families, and communities across the commonwealth and the nation, and Penn State is committed to a leadership role in addressing this crisis,” Penn State President Eric J. Barron said in the release.

The center will be led by Dr. Weston Kensinger, assistant teaching professor of health education in Penn State Harrisburg’s School of Behavioral Sciences and Education.

Besides funding the center’s operations, the gift will go toward professors, graduate scholarships and research and outreach in the areas of prevention, treatment and recovery.

Penn State Harrisburg Chancellor John M. Mason Jr. said the Harrisburg campus is suited to house the center, citing the campus’ research expertise, academics that combines programs and faculty in health-related fields, and partnerships in the region and university. Addressing substance abuse was made a priority throughout the university, which created the Penn State Consortium to Combat Substance Abuse to tackle the issue on multiple levels. The center will be part of the consortium.

“The Center for Addiction Outreach and Research is an ambitious endeavor with tremendous potential to make a lasting difference throughout the region. We are truly grateful for the generosity of the Douglas W. Pollock Foundation in helping the center to become a reality, and providing a foundation upon which we can build,” Mason said.